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Crete is the largest Greek island, area wise, and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean. Its distinctive geographical location, between Europe, Asia and Africa was determinant both for its peculiar geomorphology as well as for its history, since Crete has always been a crossroad of people and cultures. This location has also determined its fame which may be attributed to both the soul-stirring beauty of its natural environment and its history: this was the cradle and living space of the Minoan culture already by the 3rd millennium before Christ, one of the oldest and most impressive, for its accomplishments.
Nature-lovers will hike on the mountains, the gorges, will swim on its unique beaches that stretch of hundreds of kilometers, will enjoy and marvel at the unique flora and fauna of the island.
Archaeological sites
Those with cultural interests will visit the archaeological sites, such as the Minoan Palaces, the museums, homes to the artistic treasures of a land where artists such as painter El Greco were born. They shall walk in cities and villages and marvel at historical architectural monuments, erected by all the people that have settled the island, and, finally, will delight at the Greek tradition, which is very lively in the island and imprinted in music, dancing and especially at local fairs and in traditional folklore art.
Those with gastronomic interests will have the opportunity to taste and enjoy the immaculate quality of the products of Cretan land and the unique offerings of Cretan cuisine.
Clubbing, DJs
The party goers and those that want to have fun will find Crete a merry and lively place with many faces: all night clubbing, DJ sets by international DJs, a wide variety of cafes, bars but also traditional taverns with live music.
Finally, those wishing to simply relax, with discover a tranquil place whose beauty is abundant and unsparing.
Bali is a very convenient place to be and, besides the excellent sea that will enthrall visitors, it may also serve as a base for excursions, short or even more distant ones. The Minoan palaces of Knossos, Archanes, Phaistos, Malia, as well as the archaeological museums in the major cities, and especially Iraklion, are all within easy reach from the hotel.
Furthermore, Bali itself, as well as its surrounding area, are also very interesting.
Monastery of Atali
Approximately 5 kilometers south of Bali one finds the Monastery of Atali, known also as the Monastery of Bali, which has retained the medieval name of the area, which was Atali. It is dedicated to St. John and dates back to the 17th century.
Virgin Mary Harakiani
On the eastern end of the gulf worth visiting is also the church of Our Lady Harakiani, which celebrates on the 15th of August where a grand fair takes place. There are two other seasonal fairs in the area, that of St. John at the Monastery of Atali on the 29th of August and that of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity).
Home village of El Greco
Should one venture to the east, worth visiting is the picturesque village of Sises at a distance of roughly 13 km. from Bali and then, travelling along orange crofts, the village Fodele, where El Greco was born. In Fodele, which is now renowned for its exquisite oranges, there is a museum dedicated to the great painter. Also worth visiting is the Byzantine church of Our Lady (1383), of the crossed-dome form, which was erected on the foundations of a preexisting basilica, while its frescoes, tradition has it, were the reason El Greco engaged in hagiography and religious subjects.
Cave of Melidoni
West of Bali, build amidst two bays is the village Panormos, from where a turnpike road will takes to the cave of Melidonios, one of the most important caves in Crete with majestic domes and impressive stalactites. In the Minoan era it was a place of worship, as is testified by the findings of various excavations, while the objects of the worship were Talos (the mechanic giant offered, the myth has it, by Zeus to the Cretans, to guard the island from intruders and as reciprocation for the protection that was offered to him), Taleos Hermes and Taleos Zeus.
Also south of Bali, on the slopes of Psiloritis we find two important caves that are worth your attention: Cave Sfedoni at Zoniana and, principally, Ideo Adro, a huge cave on an altitude of 1540 meters, where, according to mytholody Rea hid her son Zeus from his father Cronus who wanted to devour him, while the Kourites banged on their shields for no one to hear the baby’s cries, protecting it. This is antiquity’s most famous worshiping cave that is cited by many ancient Greek authors.
On the slopes of Psiloritis and at an altitude of 740 meters we find Anogeia, the most developed, with respect to tourism, mountainous hamlet in Crete. Other activities of the people are ranging, while women have preserved the long tradition of weaving, the renowned weavings of Anogeia. An important cultural festival takes place every summer, which begun as an idea by Manos Hatzidakis and today promotes quality music, not necessarily of Cretan tradition.
Village Margarites
The village Margarites is the most important pottery center in Western Crete. Crete is well known for its age-long tradition in pottery, which dates back to the Minoan times. This tradition is kept alive in Margarites, since here we find many potters that continue to practice the art of clay they inherited from older generations. The visitor can see the history of the art of pottery in a very interesting exhibition “The Margarites Collection of Pottery”, perhaps even follow an educational program and, finally, visit the local workshops and see the modern evolution of an ancient art.
Monastery of Arkadi
The monastery of Arkadi is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior and Saints Constantine and Helen and has played a significant role in Cretan history for it has participated in the fights for independence, its most important moment being the siege and act of self-sacrifice of its besieged defenders in 1866. It is a notable sample of Cretan renaissance, since the first documented evidence for the Monastery date back to early 16th century. In the years that the monastery was open it was a center for Education, manuscript copying and gold embroidering.
Apladiana village
In Apladiana village of interest is the ostrich farm, while the renowned tavern “TALAIA ORI” is certainly worth a visit for all those who want a taste of the unique Cretan cuisine. There are also modern cheese-dairies offering distinctive tastes using locally produced milk.